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The effects of a national policy to reduce c‐sections in Brazil

Abstract In this paper, we assess the effects of a national policy implemented in Brazil to avoid unnecessary cesareans. The policy has a supply-side component that prohibits elective c-sections before the 39th gestational week and a demand-side awareness component. Since the policy is not binding for cases with a strong medical c-section indication, we use births of breech- and transverse-positioned babies as a counterfactual for births of cephalic-positioned babies in a difference-in-differences framework. Our results reveal that the policy decreases the rate of c-sections by 1.6 percentage point, and slightly increases gestational time, birthweight, and first-minute APGAR scores. Ther...

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